Iron-Workers are Awarded Millions
Carl Perkins, 53, and Alex Sackey-El, 52, were working as they always do in Houston, Texas. The ironworkers were part of a crew that was tasked with the removal and installation of a large glass window at a local Houston Apple store. As the two workers prepared to guide the glass while they stood in a scissor lift that was approximately 25 feet above the ground, a Maxim Crane Works L.P. operator attempted to remove the panel of glass.
While removing the glass load, which at this point had become stuck, the crane operator lost control of the glass panel and allowed it to swing out and strick the scissor lift. The scissor lift that carried Perkins and Sackey-El crashed to the ground as a result of the swinging glass panel, injuring the two men. Perkins and Sackey-El each suffered severe lumbar and thoracic spinal cord fractures in the incident and both of the workers required surgery. In addition, Perkins and Sackey-El have mobility and cognitive difficulties, including memory loss, and the two have additionally been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries. The two men’s injuries will require on-going rehabilitation and have greatly impacted both of their lives.
Perkins and Sackey-El along with their spouses consequently sued Maxim Crane Works L.P., alleging that among other claims, Maxim Crane Works failed to control the glass load, safely perform the lift operation, and provide a competent crane operator who would follow the safety standards set forth by the industry and Maxim Crane Works L.P.’s safety rules. The suit claimed that the glass panel in question was out of control when it sprang out in an uncontrolled manner due to both the incompetence of the crane operator and the fact that the operator was using the crane to pull on the glass load and had the crane’s boom tip positioned incorrectly. The two men claimed $100,000 and $307,000 in lost earnings respectively.
The defense, Maxim Crane Works, argued that Steele Inc., Perkins and Sockey-El’s employer was responsible for the incident, not Maxim Crane Works. The Jury did not totally agree with the defendant. The jury found that Maxim Crane Works L.P. was 70% at fault and Steel Inc. was 30 %. The two men, Sockey-El and Perkins were awarded more than 16.54 Million dollars.
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Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides compensation to employees who have suffered an illness or injury as a result of working at their job. This employee can get workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault, but the employee usually does not have the right to sue the employer in court for damages for those injuries.
Workers’ compensation benefits can include medical care, rehabilitation expenses, and disability coverage to compensate for your lost income. Disabilities fall into one of four categories:
- Temporary total disability – You can’t work now, but you will be able to work again (most fall into this category)
- Temporary partial disability – You can do parts of your job now, but not everything and someday you may be able to do all the duties again.
- Permanent total disability – You cannot return to the current job.
- Permanent partial disability – Damage is permanent, but it only partially impairs the ability to work.
If you are a family member of someone who was killed on the job, you may be entitled to death benefits.